The UK today said it will back three nationwide Covid-19 studies with £8.4m to fund research into understanding human immune responses to the pandemic coronavirus.
The funds, from UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research, will help scientists develop better immunity tests, study the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and understand why some people suffer life-threatening Covid-19 while others have mild or asymptomatic infections.
“Together, it is hoped these studies will improve the treatment of patients and inform the development of vaccines and therapies,” the funding bodies said in a joint statement.
“Importantly, these studies will determine when and how immunity persists or whether people can become re-infected (with Covid-19).”
The funding will be split between the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, which will get £6.5m to study how effective immunity is developed and why people respond differently to the disease, and another research collaboration which will get £1.5m to study the humoral immune response – molecules produced by the immune system to fight infection.
Just under £400,000 will fund a third project looking at key features of fatal Covid-19 and the impact the virus has upon the lungs and other vital organs.
Yesterday there were more than 1,500 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the UK, the highest daily figure in more than two months.
According to data from the Department of Health and Social Care, 1,522 more people were confirmed to have contracted the disease in the last 24 hours.
The figure represents a 50 per cent increase on the day before, when there were 1,048 new cases.